Most helpful critical review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Big Head Blues Club feat. Big Head Todd & the Monsters - 100 Years of Robert Johnson
on November 28, 2012
Robert Johnson has but twenty nine recorded songs, and a mere handful of others that have been attributed to him. Johnson has been a man of mystery and legend, being the only person I believe who actually meet with and spoke to the Devil. During the blues powered 60's everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Cream and The Rolling Stones have given nods, or recorded his songs. While currently Eric Clapton, Peter Green, John Hammond, and even that boy from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, Todd Rundgren have recorded tributes to him ... some better than others, and some downright embarrassing.
With this current state of musical affairs, and tributes being flashed about like badges to say that they [the artists] know their roots, you've gotta ask yourself one question ... possibly two. "Exactly what are these folks bringing to the table," and "Is it necessary or worthwhile?" Sadly the answer to the first question is "Nothing." Sure, Big Head Blues Club has assembled a stellar cast of gunslingers, but they're not reinventing the wheel, they're not even doing anything that hasn't been done before. Which brings me to the second question, and the answer there is "No." Fans of Robert Johnson want to hear those traditional blues, and if they want to hear them updated then there are artists like Rory Block who manage to make the blues feel both timeless and new. And no, I'm not forgetting you rockin' power chord blues fans either ... you too are going to be disappointed as well. Johnson's music has been twisted, it's been bent over, under, and sideways down, it's been electrified, acousti-fied, played with a violin bow, and ripped a hole in the sky with effects peddles. Blues music is supposed to sound effortless and honest, because it's from the heart and it's about real life. What's been done to these wonderful pieces of luster often sound like way too much work and effort as these artists show off their guitar faces, and sweeping gestures. So, when push comes to shove, give me the gentle original hand of Robert Johnson anytime.
From this collection I kept but three tracks, three tracks that I felt showed me something new, and would stand up by themselves during a blues' rotation ... "Cross Road Blues," "Last Fair Deal Gone Down," and "All My Love Is Love In Vain."
Review by Jenell Kesler